Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birth Story from Michelle Jammes

There are few pictures of me pregnant and with good reason. I fell into that category of not happy pregnant people. My pregnancy came as a surprise two weeks after my 30th birthday and it did not suit me one bit. All those tales of a glow and energy and life inside you.....hmmmm. How about brittle hair, sciatica, heartburn, pinched nerves, morning sickness for 16+ weeks so bad that you would have given a million dollars to eat just one little saltine cracker. : )

Well, the big due date neared and Emma was clearly not interested in coming out. She never dropped and my cervix never even dilated. Since I had high levels of amniotic fluids and ‘gestational hypertension,’ (which in hindsight I believe was just “white coat syndrome”), my doctor didn’t want me to go past my due date of Sept 24th. On the night of the 24th I would be induced and on the 25th I would have my baby girl.

he designated night rolls around and we check into the hospital. I was a little upset that I would be missing Project Runway but quickly remembered that they show back to back episodes and I could catch up next week. (Priorities!) The nurse came in to explain the procedure. At midnight they would give me the first of possibly many suppositories to get my cervix soft and dilated. That would be followed by pitocin to induce labor and by this time tomorrow I would have my baby. Simple enough. The nurse even jokingly told me to turn off the TV as tonight would be my last night of proper sleep.

So I complied. Like Cinderella awaiting the stroke of midnight, I lay back and let the beeping and flickering lights of the stat machine lull me to sleep. At some point, I became focused on one particular number on this machine. I knew the numbers should stay in the range of 150-200. Anything lower than 150 was cause for concern. 150, 130, 120. Two nurses come in and in a calm manner tell to me lie on my right side and try not to move. They explained how sometimes the monitors shift or the baby moves out of range. I think to myself, 'I was just laying the wrong way', but within 5 minutes, like a scene from a movie, the lights are on and the room is filled with more nurses. There is a doctor and my anesthesiologist is back.

The numbers are low, 130, 120, 90, 80. They are not going up. After being prodded with what felt like an entire forearm, they inform me they have just called my doctor and that there is no time to induce. "Do you understand?” one nurse asks me. I think I must have looked perplexed but I knew quite well what was going on. I recognized this scene from so many movies where the doc tells the husband "I can do this procedure in my sleep, I can have the baby out in less than 8 minutes. All will be fine". So Hollywood told me all would be well and honestly I wasn't afraid. I actually secretly wanted a c-section and hoped my doctor would tell me that I HAD to have one. I went in at 1 am and by 1:15 she was out.

I did feel pain. A lot of pressure is the only way to describe it. It is as if someone is squeezing your organs. It took longer for them to sew me up than to take her out. I remember wanting to just pass out or throw up but that I needed to hear her cry. I wanted to see her, but could only make out a fleeting image of a pink, wrinkly, piglet-like creature being whisked away to be cleaned. I felt assured as the nurses joked that I had a "big baby". Emma Adela was 8 lbs 13 oz. and 21.4 inches long.

For some people I guess motherhood comes naturally, but for me it took a while. I can honestly say I didn't have an immediate connection with her. Once they handed her to me I remember thinking to myself, "Hey kid, I guess we are stuck with each other." I never had dreams of being a mother — I was always playing the big sister with my dolls. I loved, and still do love, all animals. I brake for squirrels and will get out of my car to help a turtle cross the road. To be handed this little human being who needed me more than anything or anyone ever did was both daunting and numbing. You can't just leave food and water out for this person or take a holiday from them. I knew I had to push forward for this person and embrace this new phase in my life.

As they handed her to me I quietly mourned that part of my life that I would never be able to return to. But with the passing of each day I cannot imagine a life without her. I cry each day at her advancements and feel a sense of comfort to know that she is because I am.

Emma turned one almost a month ago. The year just flew by and Emma is such a wonderful little person. She has such a joy for life that I feel blessed to be able to see the world through new eyes now, and in a way, be a child all over again.

From Michelle Jammes.


Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I'll be posting stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I'd love to hear your story, feel free to submit it to


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Blogger Design Mom said...

I love your honest story, Michelle. I think many women don't connect with their babies right away — and weren't necessarily dreaming of becoming mothers. I think the point of view you offer is refreshing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 10:10:00 AM EST  
Blogger Amber Page Writes said...

This is beautifully honest. I was an unhappy preggo too...and secretly ashamed of it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 10:11:00 AM EST  
Blogger michelle said...

Thank you both for your lovely comments.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 10:54:00 AM EST  
Blogger hc said...

I appreciate your honesty and strength in telling your wonderful story. I, myself, had the worst pregnancy of all times and would beat myself up on top of that for not enjoying it like so many other expectant moms. It was such a lonely time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 8:47:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a truly honest and refreshing birth story. My son is turning 1 next week and although I was not expecting to become a mum (I found out I was pregnant at 18 weeks...eek!) I just can't imagine my life without him. I completely related with the feelings you described!

Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 10:03:00 PM EST  
Blogger sparks.theobald said...

Michelle, THANK YOU. I am pregnant with my first child and I have been struggling with similar feelings combined with a huge sense of guilt. I love hearing other pregnancy stories about women who felt a strong close bond with their babies even in the womb and were joyous about their pregnancy/motherhood experience but the fact that I don't feel the same way has been making me feel like a failure. I don't have any friends with children so I am incredibly happy to hear that I'm not alone. Gabrielle, THANK YOU for including so many diverse and wonderful mothers on your blog to support and inspire the rest of us.

Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 2:10:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kristi said...

Thanks so much for writing this. My experience was somewhat similar. I was always on the fence about having kids and got pregnant by accident while remodeling my first home with my husband. Ended up having to have an emergency c-section which I did not want and was furious about. I got only a little glimpse of my son's face as they whisked him off to the NICU and my only thought was, that could be anyone's baby. I didn't push, I didn't see him come out. Didn't see the blood and umbilical cord or anything. When they finally brought him to me an hour later it was really like being introduced to a stranger for the first time. A stranger who needs you for everything! Four years later I love him so much it hurts but it definitely was not love at first sight. And that's OK. : )

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 12:01:00 PM EST  

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